Instagram has introduced a new feature that is set to caution users on images that have been photo-shopped.
The feature is labelling some digitally manipulated art as false information and hiding photos from digital artists and photographers from the Explore and hashtag pages.
Instagram announced in December 2019 that it was rolling out a false information warning feature that used third-party fact-checkers to reduce the spread of misinformation.
Artists and photographers shouldn’t panic about the feature flagging their digitally manipulated work since it isn’t targeting all photoshopped photos just the ones that have been identified by fact-checking websites as false.
Although the feature may be useful for combating the spread of misinformation, it does have the potential to be an obstacle for digital artists who want their work to be seen.
The false information warning is an extra step for people to have to tap through to see the post, and Instagram explained in its blog post that the platform will make “content from accounts that repeatedly receive these labels harder to find by removing it from Explore and hashtag pages.” Artists can’t control when their work will go viral or what kinds of misinformation others will attach to that work. There’s a chance that an artist’s account could be labelled as one that frequently spreads false information, even if it’s not their intention, which could affect their visibility on the platform.
Facebook and Instagram have faced their share of criticism around choosing to leave up posts with fake information.
Last May, Facebook declined to delete a distorted video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), opting to add a disclaimer for users saying the video had been faked. The company applied the same policy in June when it decided to leave up a deepfake video of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Instagram.
Facebook has been embroiled in controversy for the last few months regarding its revised political ad policy, which now says it will not subject posts from politicians to fact-checking.